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Flooding the zone

Friday, Jun 17, 2016

* The Illinois Policy Institute is ramping up its rhetoric in support of remap reform and tronc has published two of its recent op-eds, including this one entitled “How Madigan became king”

Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan’s first political splash had nothing to do with policy. It wasn’t a blueprint for a better state. It wasn’t middle-class jobs growth. It wasn’t a successful welfare program.

It was cartography.

Political mapmaking is how Madigan first took hold of a position he’s held for 31 of the past 33 years: speaker of the House. For comparison’s sake, the median age in the Land of Lincoln is 36, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

While Madigan has endured a few legislative embarrassments over the years, he’s never lost the vote he desires most from House Democrats. His caucus has elected him speaker 16 times in a row.

It’s not that I disagree with the premise or the history, it’s just that the rhetoric at tronc is really getting over the top, including today’s “king” reference.

Last week, they ran a cartoon describing the play “Hamilton” as “Powerful Democrats scheme and plot. Some people get shot.” Another person in the cartoon asks “Then shouldn’t it be called ‘Illinois’?”

This past Sunday, the Chicago Tribune’s main editorial headline was “Sniper alert: Why Chicago and Illinois pols are firing on one another.” After Sunday’s Orlando massacre, the paper thankfully changed the online title to “Chicago and Illinois politicians are losing to financial reality. And they’re miserable.”

Whew.

* Anyway, on to the second remap reform piece written by an Illinois Policy Institute staffer [Sorry, it just looked like an Illinois Policy Institute piece. It’s actually a tronc guy. All apologies.] and published by tronc

The current legal challenge to the Independent Map Amendment claims having an independent commission decide redistricting would be unconstitutional.

To me, calling this citizen-led reform effort unconstitutional is like saying voting is undemocratic or flying the flag is unpatriotic.

Amendment supporters are only asking for the chance to put the question to voters. If opponents can muster enough support to defeat the question at polls, then so be it. But it’s only fair to give voters a chance to decide.

If the state’s Constitution didn’t have such strict ballot access requirements for popular referenda, I’d fully agree. But it does. And I’m sure they must know this.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

35 Comments
  1. - Reality Check - Friday, Jun 17, 16 @ 9:31 am:

    Lotta jonc in the tronc.


  2. - anon - Friday, Jun 17, 16 @ 9:32 am:

    === Amendment supporters are only asking for the chance to put the question to voters.===

    That argument doesn’t work with Republicans when the question is the millionaire’s tax or a graduated income tax. So why should Democrats buy it when it comes to a proposal the GOP wants?


  3. - wordslinger - Friday, Jun 17, 16 @ 9:38 am:

    –Last week, they ran a cartoon describing the play “Hamilton” as “Powerful Democrats scheme and plot. Some people get shot.” Another person in the cartoon asks “Then shouldn’t it be called ‘Illinois’?–

    There’s something wrong with those people. They dig the violent imagery — whether it’s killer storms or snipers — way too much.

    Hardly sober, rational discourse.


  4. - Thoughts Matter - Friday, Jun 17, 16 @ 9:41 am:

    Why do we have elections? Because we want representatives, not kings. Madigan is elected by the people in his district. They can vote him out whenever they choose. As was said yesterday, his district is 68% Hispanic, but they still vote for Madigan. He’s a savvy guy, and knows what he can legally do to win an election. But he is not a king. To call him one kind of ignores our country’s history.


  5. - illini97 - Friday, Jun 17, 16 @ 9:43 am:

    “If the state’s Constitution didn’t have such strict ballot access requirements for popular referenda, I’d fully agree. But it does. And I’m sure they must know this.”

    The “rules” of ballot referenda weren’t changed recently. If the Trib thinks they’re an issue, deal with that then, but quit pretending there’s a nefarious scheme behind everything you disagree with.


  6. - Ahoy! - Friday, Jun 17, 16 @ 9:44 am:

    –If the state’s Constitution didn’t have such strict ballot access requirements for popular referenda, I’d fully agree. But it does. And I’m sure they must know this.–

    yes, thank goodness Madigan and the rest of the folks who wrote the current constitution were protecting us from ourselves on how we elect our representatives. We have a huge problem that the people of Illinois have such little power over our representatives.


  7. - lake county democrat - Friday, Jun 17, 16 @ 9:46 am:

    The histrionics about Madigan may not be justified, but histrionics about the state of democracy in Illinois are not. Between gerrymandering and the restrictions in the state constitution, you can plausibly argue we only have a quasi-democracy (or republic, if you want to get technical) in Illinois. Proof? The two biggest reforms, both of which enjoy overwhelming voter support in the polls, can’t be put to a vote, either in the legislature or by referendum, because of the enormous structural and economic barriers to do so. Look how much has been expended on simply trying to ensure the principle of “one man, one vote” and it still is an open question whether voters will get to vote on it in the fall.

    The people who say this is trivial compared to the budget crisis are like the Loyalists in the days of the American Revolution. “Sure, taxation without representation is bad, but…”


  8. - lake county democrat - Friday, Jun 17, 16 @ 9:53 am:

    Thoughts Matter: I can’t speak for the Tribune, but my and others’ objections to Madigan aren’t about his representation of his district but his abuses as party leader (and much of that is a complaint about the campaign financing laws and the power it gives to party leaders), not to mention his legal-but-still-stinks law practice. Start with the history of Pat Quinn’s reform commission (and along the way read the story of Madigan’s relationship with the family of Thomas Ryan (who was convicted of stealing $100,000 from a school).


  9. - Demoralized - Friday, Jun 17, 16 @ 9:53 am:

    Constitution be damned. If the people want it then that’s ok. What a ridiculous argument. If you want to make an argument that we need remap reform, fine. I’m right there with you. But stop being ridiculous by making the ridiculous “if the majority want it then the Constitution shouldn’t matter” argument.


  10. - Demoralized - Friday, Jun 17, 16 @ 9:55 am:

    lake county democrat:

    Then change the Constitution. The people had a chance a few years ago to open up the Constitution to consider changes and they chose not to do so.


  11. - Anonymous - Friday, Jun 17, 16 @ 9:56 am:

    IPI takes their talking points from their mysterious donors. And we know what one on their donors thinks of Art. VII, Sec. 2 (a) and Art. XiII Sec. 5.


  12. - Bogey Golfer - Friday, Jun 17, 16 @ 10:02 am:

    =Then change the Constitution. The people had a chance a few years ago to open up the Constitution to consider changes and they chose not to do so.=
    In a touch of irony, one of the leading opponents of the last Constitutional Convention referendum was former Gov. Edgar.


  13. - Honeybear - Friday, Jun 17, 16 @ 10:05 am:

    I am really stunned that Republicans have not realized that the fear/hate mongering created the Trump candidacy. IPI’s constant drumbeat of fear/hate mongering greatly helped create the Raunerite. The Rauner and the Raunerites have been THE WORST thing for the actually business and employment environment in the State. Contrary to Troll and elite belief, the room full of Chamber of Commerce members who Rauner is “all in” for, do not represent in any way the true business and employment community. Those, mostly white men, were the ruling elite who are more than willing to see the State burn to the ground because they smell profit in it. Like hedgefund managers hungry for a corporate disaster to make out like a bandit from a short sale of stock. They want it to burn. They want the unions dead.


  14. - Moe Berg - Friday, Jun 17, 16 @ 10:12 am:

    Is the general public really paying any attention to tronc editorials and op-eds? They don’t have pride of placement on the tronc website, meaning they are not important for revenue or clicks.

    As a white, middle-aged male, it just seems to me the voice is mostly middle-aged or older whites writing from a position of clueless privilege for an audience of older whites resentful about their perceived loss of privilege and status. You see it in the often racist or violent un-moderated comments they allow to be appended to articles and editorials alike.

    It’s a business model with declining prospects. So, from that vantage point, I sort of get what they are trying to do with tronc, but don’t think they are the ones to pull it off and they’re too late to the game.

    Feel bad for quality writers like Monique Garcia and Peter Nickeas, who consistently produce good work, but hope their great talents will eventually find them someplace worthy of them.


  15. - Saluki - Friday, Jun 17, 16 @ 10:23 am:

    Looks as if we are running into another situation where the legal standard is the lowest standard. I think the list of supporters of the I.M.A. speaks for itself. Those that oppose it are starting to look rather silly.

    http://www.mapamendment.org/SUPPORTERS.html


  16. - Lakeview J - Friday, Jun 17, 16 @ 10:24 am:

    Complain all you want about the map, the plain and simple fact is that Republicans have for years failed to field strong candidates in winnable districts, particularly in gubernatorial elections. Rauner beat Quinn in a dozen House districts. Geriatric Tea Partiers aren’t going to win in swing suburban districts. Madigan finds candidates who can win.


  17. - lake county democrat - Friday, Jun 17, 16 @ 10:24 am:

    Demoralized: Two separate concepts (what it is and what should be done). I think your suggestion proves my point: if the only way to make government responsive to the voters is to change the constitution, I think we’ve hit the “quasi” part. But it wouldn’t be necessary if our politicians had morals (or at least wouldn’t be as necessary) - the legislature, for example, has always had the power to put redistricting reform to a vote.

    I’ve been against Constitutional Conventions in the past for the same reason I voted for Quinn even though I had a very low opinion of him: too much risk to our most vulnerable. I thought things like a gay marriage/civil unions ban, for example, might be enshrined in the constitution (every state that had voted on/legislated a similar ban had enacted one). But next time I probably will support one.


  18. - lake county democrat - Friday, Jun 17, 16 @ 10:26 am:

    Lakeview J - then what’s the problem with redistricting reform? I think you’re wrong (else why the criss-cross and the Madigan legal attacks), but all the better if you’re right. The point is the principle of one-man/one-vote is sacred to democracy. The rest is noise.


  19. - Rich Miller - Friday, Jun 17, 16 @ 10:41 am:

    ===Rauner beat Quinn in a dozen House districts===

    lol

    Way more than that, man. He won over half the popular vote.


  20. - Juvenal - Friday, Jun 17, 16 @ 10:46 am:

    One of the leading opponents of a Constitutional Convention, and broader popular referenda, is the
    Illinois Chamber of Commerce.

    Imagine if you could enact a progressive income tax or a millionaire tax through a ballot initiative.

    This too, Rich, the Chicago Tronc editorial board knows. And that’s yet another reason their troncing is so tronc.


  21. - Lakeview J - Friday, Jun 17, 16 @ 10:48 am:

    I should have been more specific- Rauner beat Quinn in ~12 districts where the House Dem incumbent won.

    And I’m not opposed to redistricting reform. I’d have liked to have seen the Franks proposal make it to the ballot. Frankly, I’d like to see a lot more changes to the structure and composition of the GA to shift power from the chamber leader to the broader membership.

    That said, suburbanites continue to vote for Democratic incumbents (Madigan wart and all) because by-and-large the alternative is a deeply conservative Republican that they simply don’t agree with.


  22. - Huh? - Friday, Jun 17, 16 @ 10:51 am:

    “I am really stunned that Republicans have not realized that the fear/hate mongering created the Trump candidacy.”

    Honeybear, I think that the National republicans see what Trump is saying and doing. Unfortunately, because he is the nominee, they can’t figure out how to get Trump to change his tone/tune or extricate themselves from his campaign.

    Trump is a long 9 cannon that has come out of its carriage and is loose on a rolling deck.


  23. - Lakeview J - Friday, Jun 17, 16 @ 10:57 am:

    I should have been more specific- Rauner beat Quinn in ~12 districts where the House Dem incumbent won.

    And I’m not opposed to redistricting reform. I’d have liked to have seen the Franks proposal make it to the ballot. Frankly, I’d like to see a lot more changes to the structure and composition of the GA to shift power from the chamber leader to the broader membership.

    That said, suburbanites continue to vote for Democratic incumbents (Madigan wart and all) because by-and-large the alternative is a deeply conservative Republican that they simply don’t agree with.


  24. - walker - Friday, Jun 17, 16 @ 11:01 am:

    LCD

    Agree that our democracy might be improved in some ways by neutral redistricting.

    But it has nothing to do with a “one-man-one-vote” principle. You are one man and you have one vote no matter how your district is drawn. One might not like all the other voters one is thrown in with, and therefore think the outcome is unfair because their preferred candidate was selected, and yours was not. They all had the “one-man-one-vote” right too.

    Talk about histrionics.


  25. - Anonymous - Friday, Jun 17, 16 @ 11:19 am:

    Wondering if IPI would think the same if their ideologue pols controlled the GA.


  26. - Formerly Known As... - Friday, Jun 17, 16 @ 11:44 am:

    ==That argument doesn’t work with Republicans when the question is the millionaire’s tax or a graduated income tax.==

    That could have been the beginnings of a compromise. Put them both on the ballot as legislative referenda.

    In a functional government, that is.


  27. - lake county democrat - Friday, Jun 17, 16 @ 11:46 am:

    Walker - I think that’s a distinction between the theoretical and the practical. The point of gerrymandering is to make certain votes as meaningless/powerless as possible. Sure, some voters aren’t going to be impacted much or at all by a fairly drawn system, but for some it makes all the difference.


  28. - Honeybear - Friday, Jun 17, 16 @ 11:49 am:

    -Trump is a long 9 cannon that has come out of its carriage and is loose on a rolling deck.–

    Nice…Huh, really good. To stick with the Age of Fighting Sail metaphors, I keep thinking Trump in starting a mutiny against the GOP officers has unleashed cannon balls on the deck. This act was a signal that a mutiny had started. 1) the tars, Trump followers could hear it and grab officers 2) it kept officers from going on deck to take control of the helm or lock sailors below. A rolling cannon ball can take off a leg.
    Trump has let his cannon balls loose. The problem is that you can’t gain order with all the cannon balls. Same with Rauner/IPI and revenue necessary to get the ship of state underway. Raunerite Cannon balls are keeping us from steering the ship. We’re broadside on to the waves and will roll if a recession hits. Now we’ve got too many cannon balls on deck who won’t allow revenue.


  29. - Just Me - Friday, Jun 17, 16 @ 12:09 pm:

    Back to the cartoon, please. Who is the capital “D” Democrat in the analogy? Hamilton? Burr? And who is Hamilton or Burr in modern Illinois? Now even tronc’s cartoons don’t make any sense to me. I gave up on tronc’s analysis a long time ago.


  30. - James Knell - Friday, Jun 17, 16 @ 12:31 pm:

    Project Red State was recently featured on NPR’s Fresh Air in an interview with author David Daley who wrote a book on that effort to grab redistricting power in nine states including Wisconsin. Illinois is mentioned as the one state Democrats gerrymandered effectively and they did it without a national effort behind them. I’ll vote for redistricting reform when the GOP takes it’s own medicine nationally.


  31. - RH - Friday, Jun 17, 16 @ 12:49 pm:

    Sorry, IPI/troncsters, Madigan beat a Republican drawn map in four out of five elections in the 90’s — you can bet he’ll do better than that with a nonpartisan map.

    And the biggest challenge to this reform effort will eventually come in federal court because its final product is likely to diminish minority representation. Drawing a map to comply with the Voting Rights Act is going to be all the more difficult after 2020 given the way Chicago’s black population has decline and shifted elsewhere.


  32. - Tony T - Friday, Jun 17, 16 @ 1:19 pm:

    @RH

    I thought the same thing about 2020 map making when I read this Greg Hinz piece a couple weeks ago:

    http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20160528/ISSUE05/305289992/chicagos-black-population-is-declining-while-its-white-population-is


  33. - Honeybear - Friday, Jun 17, 16 @ 2:26 pm:

    Huh
    Are you a Patrick O’Brian fan?


  34. - Huh? - Friday, Jun 17, 16 @ 3:02 pm:

    I have read a few O’Brian books. The Age of Sail was of great adventure and exploration. Have ancestors who were whaling captains.


  35. - Honeybear - Friday, Jun 17, 16 @ 3:10 pm:

    Have ancestors who were whaling captains.

    Chorus to a 19th century whalers song which applies to these days.

    Row on, row on another day
    may shine with brighter light

    Ply, ply the oars
    There’s dawn beyond the night.

    This speaks of whalers on their small launches who went after a whale to harpoon it, got separated from their ship when darkness fell. In the arctic the night can last for days. Thus they are lost at see and might never find their ship again. But the dawn holds hope.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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